You’ve organised the venue, the band, the photographer and the bridal dresses, but what about the flowers? Too often the wedding flowers are left to the last minute when the budget is limited. Award-winning Melbourne floral designer Naomi Rose Bell argues that thinking early about the right choice of blooms can bring a special elegance and personal style to the big day.
“The right flowers can transform a wedding space and give a special mood and ambiance to the occasion,” she says.
“Often people don’t think ahead about flowers and they often don’t book a florist until very late. They don’t realise that getting the right flowers can take a lot of planning and thought. It should never be a last-minute decision if you want to do it right.”
With the middle name of Rose, Naomi was probably destined from birth to be a florist.
“I don’t know if my parents were being prophetic, but my sister’s middle name is Blossom, so maybe there is something in that. I’ve had a lifelong passion for flowers and nature and have always been creative in art work.
“But I didn’t start in this business until a good friend asked me to decorate her house with flowers for a 60th birthday. I’d never done anything like that but I loved the job and then did an apprenticeship in floristry which led me to do my own thing using my skills (she has a diploma in visual merchandising) and using flowers to create art.”
She says her Melbourne-based Naomi Rose Floral Design loves a challenge.
One of her favourite weddings was for a bride who is a scientist. Naomi and her team incorporated beakers and test tubes and painted them turquoise, making the bright blooms they contained stand out. Mini pineapples painted hot pink were used to create a tropical “science experiment look” in some of the beakers.
The bride and groom said their vows under a lush array of tropical foliage.
“It was a modern, tropical-style wedding and it great to do something funky and bright to make the day special,” says Naomi.
“Another job we did was for a bride wearing a green wedding dress, which is quite unusual. She had a garden wedding and wanted each bridesmaid’s bouquet in different colours. One had to be yellow, one red and one green. It turned out really cool and it was great to do something a little different.
“The best part of my job is seeing how happy the brides are with our flowers and the props we use. That’s the reward for all the hard work you put in.”
Naomi Rose Floral Design has an array of wedding props including elegant vases, light up signs spelling out the word love, candle holders, plant stands and bird cages.
Wedding florists these days do more than just arrange flowers. The job involves sourcing suppliers to confirm availability, liaising with wedding venues, , timing the bloom of flowers perfectly, accounting for the climate on the day and many other details.
“It can be a whole week’s work prepping some flowers to get them to open and looking their best on the day of the wedding,” says Naomi. “You have to keep conditioning them in the run up to the wedding day.
“Often on wedding days I’m up at 1.30 in the morning to go to the market and then it can be a whole day prepping the flowers and doing the arrangements so I sometimes don’t get home until 10 that night. But I love this job.“
Naomi said most of her clients asked for bouquets of peonies, which are only available locally in November.
“If they really want peonies outside that time, we can import them but it can be quite costly. And of course the other common choice for brides these days is for David Austin roses.
“The fashion at the moment is for fluffy flowers and the whole natural, rustic wedding idea has come back, so our work with flowers is quite varied.
“Usually brides come to me knowing what they want the flowers to look like but they don’t know what is in season for their weddings so I guide them. I like them to tell me generally what they want their wedding day to look like and then I can be a little more creative in creating that special look with seasonal blooms.
“Sometimes brides come along with photos of celebrity weddings and ask me to recreate the expensive flower arrangements but with a small budget. But I never say no to an idea. I always try to think of a solution about what we can do alternatives that will suit their budgets”